Sunday 16 March 2014

Bible Book:

“God so loved the world that God gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (v. 16)

John 3:1-17 Sunday 16 March 2014


John is a fascinating Gospel writer! Although, as a closedisciple, he was very much a part of the action, he chose to writeas though he was viewing what was going on from a distance andgives a commentary and reflection on the events that he hasseen.

In the previous chapter he gives us his account of the weddingat Cana (John 2:1-12) and the cleansing of the templeand finishes with these words: "But Jesus on his part … knew whatwas in everyone" (vv. 24-25). Then we have the story of Nicodemuscoming to see Christ in the night.

Nicodemus was a scholar and teacher of rabbinic law whichresponsibilities placed him in the Jewish council. Unlike the otherPharisees, he recognises that Jesus has been sent by God and comesto question him when he can't be seen. They 'chew the cud' overbeing born again but there is edginess to the tone of Christ'sresponses to Nicodemus as though Jesus is becoming frustrated bythis religious teacher.

'Having faith equals eternal life … Do I have to spell this outfor you?'
Jesus is attempting to take Nicodemus out of the realm of rulesand regulations to encourage him to see beyond the immediate andinto the greater things of faith. If God in Jesus could tell whatis in people then for sure Jesus could see that Nicodemus was quitecapable of thinking theologically. In this passage Christ isshowing us that we need to live within the freedom that a life offaith gives us.

"The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it,but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes" (v. 8).In other words a life of faith is about being free to find God inall of creation and not just the bits that are confined to aspecific way of life or rules. Jesus is sincerely trying to tell ofGod's faithfulness but in order to find ourselves close to God wehave to be free and in a place where what he is saying makes sensefor us. Jesus can talk about earthly things, but if we can't followhim at this level we should be able to recognise how much moredifficult it will be for us when Christ talks about the things ofGod.

Already in his ministry Christ is talking about his end and howthat will bring hope and salvation for the world. It is that hopethat God will find us at our ending and bring us with Christ toeternal life that speaks so strongly of our faithful God. God'slove for us is so strong, sure and constant that God has given usthe Son so that we may see for ourselves, taste and relish theprospect of eternal life because of Jesus Christ.

To Ponder

  • Where do you encounter a sense of freedom in your spirituallife?
  • Do you think we value the 'freedom to be' today and if so whereor how is this expressed? 
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